Tuesday, December 7, 2010


David LaChapelle is one of the few iconic photographers and artists of my time so far. He recreates images that portray modern ideas, places opinions and beliefs, making him as influential as the great masters before him. 

I have come to love his work through his ability to create different worlds within his pictures. He does this mainly through his photographic and artistic abilities, with only some computer enhancement (contrary to popular belief). His work is not always admired but will most likely be studied and referred to in years to come. I doubt he will ever get the recognition he deserves in his life time, but may like his mentor Andy Warhol and the many great artists before him get it after he has gone.
'The Rape of Africa', 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Awards (http://www.lachapellestudio.com/about/)

  • "OUT in Art Award" By Glaad Award

  • "Best New Photographer of the Year" by both French Photo and American Photo magazines.
  • "Photographer of the Year Award" at the VH-1 Fashion Awards.
  • "Art Directors Club Award" for Best Book Design for LaChapelle Land.
  • Best "Cutting Edge Essay" and "Style Photography" at Life magazine's Alfred Eisenstadt Awards for Magazine Photography (the Eisies).
  • Honored in the "Cover of the Year" Category at the Eisies.
  • Won "Best Video" for Moby's "Natural Blues" at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
  • 12th Annual MVPA Awards - Adult Contemporary Video of the Year - Elton John "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore".
  • 13th Annual MVPA Awards - Winner "Director of the Year" - "Best Rock Video of the Year" for No Doubt "It's My Life".
  • Special Juried Prize Mountainfilm in Telluride.
  • Special Juried Recognition in Sundance Film Festival.
  • Winner of "Best Documentary" in Aspen Film Festival.
  • Presented with GLAAD's Vito Russo Award for Outstanding Contributions Toward Eliminating Homophobia.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

American Jesus

In 1999 David LaChapelle started taking photos of Michael Jackson. Originally taken for the millenium cover of Rolling Stone Magazine LaChapelle continued to work with Michael Jackson and is said to have one of the last photo shoots of the pop sensation. The images portray Jackson as a modern day martyr and is called the 'American Jesus' series. It was on exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery this year nearly a decade after the series began. 

Michael Jackson was most definitely the most iconic figure LaChapelle has ever portrayed. He portrays him as a modern day Jesus, referring to the fame, fortune and recognition he gained in his lifetime. We as a public created this iconic figure and worshiped his work and talent. The images also depict how we destroyed him and killed him and his reputation through gossip and media. According to LaChapelle, 'these photos demonstrated his support for the pop icon against the persecution inflicted by the press and public. LaChapelle says anyone who consumed the tabloids gossiping about Jackson (especially during the molestation allegations) contributed to his fall from grace and transition "from being the most famous, most beloved singer to the most reviled, joked about..." The public tends to put stars on pedestals only to later kick them down.' David LaChapelle | Paul Kasmin, 

American Jesus: Archangel Michael

American Jesus: Hold Me, Carry Me Boldly

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Religion and Social class

David LaChapelle has taken a look into the world of religion, questioned it, and tried to figure it out in his own unique way. In the 'Jesus is my Homeboy' series LaChapelle has taken different religious scenes and recreated them with modern twist. He has recreated Jesus as a modern day man with his followers being gangsters, rappers and members of the hip-hop culture. These represent the sordid company that Jesus often kept. They are from all different ethnical backgrounds and in fairly basic surroundings and run down living conditions. Jesus is in the company of hookers, street gangs and other social classes that society has cast out and created hatred towards. I feel LaChapelle is making reference to the fact that Jesus is in the lives of everyone who believes, no matter what their class, social role or background is. Maybe he is questioning the idea and asking if the images he has created could be possible?

The Last Supper

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Changing world

David LaChapelle realised from an early age that the world has changed through modernisation, media, and humans destroying the enviornment and eating away at nature. His 'American Trash Culture' picture were produced at a time when he went looking for nature (which he loved) and realised it was getting hard to find. He realised that even in the most corrupt and third world countries, nature was being replaced with commercial buildings and fast food joints. This caused him to look at these bright coloured, loud structures in a new light and find some thing he liked about them or could photograph. In his 2005 book LaChapelle Land, he states

' .... now I'm not bothered by looking at places like McDonald's. I see them I think, "Oh I could do a     photo here." They're colourful and bright....Truman Capote said "good taste is in the death of art." Fashion and advertising photography has always been about good taste, about picturing the good life. I want to see what's been cut out, I want to feature those things.... Photographers are always running away to exotic places to do fashion photography in nature, but they're always artificial-staged to look natural.... I'd rather celebrate the artificial' LaChapelle Land, p.149 

David LaChapelle, Death by Cheeseburger

Monday, November 8, 2010


Pamela Anderson "Miracle Tan Booth"

The world has become obsessed with image and vanity. Vanity can be described as self obsession in one's own image and achievements. Through this we have gotten confused with what beauty really is and have become a nation obsessed with trying to appear like the digitally enhanced models and celebrities we see portrayed by the media.

This is a photo of Pamela Anderson in a tanning booth. The image was shot from a low angle maybe to illustrate or mimic how some people look up and idealise this type of appearance, and strive to replicate it. In this photograph Anderson shows how false beauty has become. She is sprayed with fake tan and it is dripping down her legs, her hair is bleached blonde, her body shape is distorted like a plastic 'Barbie' doll, her smile is completely forced and unnatural. Everything is made to seem false about this photograph. I feel LaChapelle is trying to convey how the female form has been transformed by modern ideals of what beauty really is? Plastic surgery and the other extreme methods women use to remain beautiful and youthful, is a common topic of debate.

'A women’s presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her. Her presence is manifested in her gesture, voice, opinions, expressions, clothes, chosen surroundings, taste indeed there is nothing she can do which does not contribute to her presence.' John Berger, Ways of Seeing